By Arie Lova Eliav
Original 12 months of publication: 1988
New middle, New Spirit confronts the moral and ethical values of the Bible within the context of the serious state of affairs that Israel and Zionism are dealing with. It has sprung from the profound matters of an Israeli Jew who fears for the destiny of Zionism and Israel. The bonds of private and nationwide ethics that associated Zionism with the simplest of biblical values at the moment are weakening—in a few circles, to the purpose of removing the folk of Israel from its assets of lifestyles. Zionism is changing into defiled. plenty of Zionists have deserted the natural wells of the Prophets in prefer of the muddy precipitates on the backside of our wonderful culture. rather than carrying on with as a flow of existence and peace, justice and freedom, equality, brotherhood, and mercy, Zionism is at risk of becoming a circulate that glorifies warfare whereas permitting inner social injustice, love of energy, and hatred of extraterrestrial beings to flourish unchecked. so much scary of all, extremist forces try to justify—and even to glorify— those detrimental values via extracting and distorting fragments of Biblical verses. for instance, those that decide upon dominion over a “Greater Israel” instead of territorial compromise resulting in peace with Israel’s Arab friends always invoke “Holy Words” to justify their position.
It now turns out that the Bible—along with the full Jewish culture based upon it—has been imprisoned by way of extremist factions in Judaism, Zionism, and Israel. those factions each one declare to be the only real approved interpreter of the Bible and of Judaism and search, via advantage in their “exclusive” nature, to transform contributors of Israeli society to their cause.
The Bible is not just the cornerstone of Judaism. it's a common asset, an essential component of the heritage of civilization. with out it there should be neither Judaism nor Jews. with no it, for that topic, neither Christianity nor Islam might have been based. which means so much of human tradition and background may were greatly various and critically impoverished had the Bible now not been written.
The Bible is a piece of exalted non secular and ethical revelation. however it is additionally a compendium of principles and legislation, a continuing historical past of the folk of Israel, and a chronicle recording the production of the realm and the roots of humanity. In it are books of prophecy and poetry, knowledge and philosophy; its strains are set with symbols, legends, mysteries. but, specially, it's a publication of ethics, an attract peace and social justice one of the international locations and all humankind.
New middle, New Spirit makes a speciality of seven common moral values expressed within the Bible and regarded by means of this writer as cardinal: the sanctity of lifestyles, justice, freedom, equality, brotherhood, mercy, and peace. those values heavily resemble the seven attributes of goodness outlined in Jewish culture and prayer: peace, goodness, blessing, lifestyles, grace, lovingkindness, and mercy.
This booklet is an outcry and a problem to [the xenophobic pursuits thinking about “holy wars,” strength, land, and blood]. Its author’s goal is to symbolize the ranks of Israeli humanists who're trying to rescue the Bible from its captors and to set it and its values unfastened back in Israel. it truly is an try to increase anew the banner of human values— Jewish and universal—sanctified within the nice e-book.
Foreward via Herman Wouk. Introduction by means of Amos Oz.
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Extra resources for New Heart, New Spirit: Biblical Humanism for Modern Israel
Be sure to set as king over yourself one of your own people; you must not set a foreigner over you, one who is not your kinsman. Moreover, he shall not keep many horses . . [nor] wives . . [nor] gold. (DEUTERONOMY 17:14–17) The Pentateuch also recognizes the relationship between righteousness and justice, a subject which, at first, appears extraneous to law and legality per se: love of one’s fellow human beings—and, first of all, nonhatred: You shall not hate your kinsfolk in your heart. Reprove your kinsman but incur no guilt because of him.
He is condemned and stoned to death by the people. Once more we read of an iniquitous king, faced by a prophet of doom. This time, the prophet is Elijah, who does not even bother with parables: Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite: “Go down and confront King Ahab of Israel who [resides] in Samaria. He is now in Naboth’s vineyard; he has gone down there to take possession of it. Say to him, Thus said the Lord: Would you murder and take possession? ’ ” (1 KINGS 21:17–19) Ahab, long familiar with Elijah, and with the prophet’s hatred of and anger against the king and his ways, realizes that he has been caught with his hands dripping with innocent blood.
It is, however, immediately clear that, in Israel in those days, all anyone needed to open doors in the highest places—whether out of respect or out of awe—was a reputation as a prophet. On hearing the account of the rich man’s behavior, the king becomes incensed at the injustice: David flew into a rage against the man, and said to Nathan, “As the Lord lives, the man who did this deserves to die! ” (12:5–6) This, then, was David’s verdict and sentence, passed down upon the as yet unidentified oppressor.